← Back to Search Results
Greek, Middle Eastern
Cucumber Salad with Yogurt Dressing

Photo by: Andre Baranowski
Comments: 0
 

Recipe

Known as Cacik in Turkey, tzatziki in Greece, khiar bil Laban in the Arab nations, and mast va hiar in Iran, this cooling salad is equally at home in Albania, Lebanon, and the countries that used to be Yugoslavia. In Bulgaria, walnuts are added and it is called tarator (not to be confused with the sesame tarator or teradot sauce). In Iran, raisins and walnuts may be added, or sour cherries, walnuts and dill, or pomegranate seeds, walnuts, mint, and rose petals. Tzatziki is used as a dip for pita bread or as  sauce for fried eggplant, zucchini, fish or meat, especially kebabs. Mint or dill is the herb of choice. Occasionally cacik is thinned with water and served as chilled summer soup.

Please keep in mind that cucumbers give off quite a bit of water and many yogurts are quite liquid. So you don’t end up with a soupy mess, it’s wise to place the yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl in the refrigerator for a few hours to thicken it before making the dressing. Salt the cucumbers and let the drain for 30 minutes to rid them of excess water. Squeeze them and dry them well before adding them to the yogurt.

Nothing could be more simple to assemble than this cool and creamy yogurt dressing. Cooks in Greece, Turkey, Iran and the Arab nations find many uses for this versatile dressing. It is served on beet salads, carrot salads, and cucumber salads as well as those with cooked eggplant and zucchini. In Greece and Turkey, it is used to dress a salad of pursiane. In Iran, it is mixed with cooked spinach, beets, mushrooms, eggplant, carrots, and cucumbers. The most common additions to the basic yogurt dressing are chopped fresh mint or dill and minced garlic.

To make this creamy dressing, you need thick yogurt. The imported Fage brand of Greek yogurt does not require any draining, but most commercial yogurts need to be drained of excess water. To get 2 cups of thick yogurt, spoon 4 cups of yogurt into a strainer lined with cheesecloth, set it over a bowl, and let the water drain away for a few hours in the refrigerator.

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

Yogurt Dressing (Makes about 2 ½ cups):

  • 2 cups thick yogurt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons minced garlic (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or dill (optional)

Cucumber Salad:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Olive oil, if needed
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and cut into small dice or coarsely grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 1 cup yogurt dressing (above)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint or dill

Directions

Yogurt Dressing:

In a bowl, whisk the yogurt with the olive oil and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt. Fold in the garlic or herbs if desired.

Cucumber Salad:

If the garlic is “hot”, cook in a little olive oil over low heat for a minute or two, just to soften the bite. The garlic kick never bothers me, as I think the yogurt cools it down, but some people complain about the burn.

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature or lightly chilled.

Variations:

If you like, add 1/3 cup plumped raisins, sour cherries, or toasted and chopped walnuts to the salad. Or fold in the seeds from 2 small pomegranates, 1/3 cup walnuts, and some fresh rose petals (be sure they have not been sprayed with insecticide).


© 2008 Joyce Goldstein
 

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information includes 1/8 teaspoon of added salt per serving.

120kcal (6%)
101mg (10%)
9mg (14%)
35mcg RAE (1%)
344mg
31mg
3g
5g
1g
10g
6mg (2%)
319mg (13%)
2g (10%)
9g (13%)
1mg (7%)
 

Would you like to leave a comment about this recipe?

Notify me of new comments on this recipe. Add comment

We'd love to hear what you think!

Please or to add a comment to this recipe.
 

Sign up for
The Cookstr Weekly

Free handpicked cookbook recipes delivered straight to your inbox

Explore Cookbooks on Cookstr

nancy-silvertons-sandwich-book Nancy Silverton's Sandwich ...
by Nancy Silverton
flavor Flavor
by Rocco DiSpirito
125-best-vegan-recipes 125 Best Vegan Recipes
by Maxine Effenson Chuck, Beth Gurney
once-upon-a-tart-soups-salads-muffins-and-more-from-new-york-citys-favorite-bakeshop-and-cafe Once Upon a Tart: Soups, Sa...
by Frank Mentesana, Jerome Audureau
ice-creams-and-sorbets-cool-recipes Ice Creams and Sorbets: Coo...
by Lou Seibert Pappas
a-new-way-to-cook A New Way to Cook
by Sally Schneider
fresh-from-the-market Fresh from the Market
by Laurent Tourondel
chez-panisse-fruit Chez Panisse Fruit
by Alice Waters
cook-with-jamie Cook with Jamie
by Jamie Oliver
desserts-4-today Desserts 4 Today
by Abby Dodge
lucid-food Lucid Food
by Louisa Shafia
arthur-schwartzs-new-york-city-food Arthur Schwartz's New York ...
by Arthur Schwartz
parents-need-to-eat-too Parents Need to Eat Too
by Debbie Koenig
how-to-be-a-domestic-goddess How to be a Domestic Goddess
by Nigella Lawson
Already a member? Click here to Log In
close

Sign up to Cookstr!

  • Receive a free, handpicked selection of recipes in your inbox weekly
  • Save, share and comment on your favorite recipes in My Cookstr
  • Get updates on new Cookstr features and tools







By signing up you accept the
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
Spinner
New to Cookstr? Click here to Sign Up
close


Forgot your password? Click here
close
Thanks for commenting!
Would you like to share your comment on Facebook or Twitter?